How to Weaken Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform…One Bill at a Time

H.R. 1105, the Small Business Capital Access and Job Preservation Act, was introduced by Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia). The purpose of the Act is to exempt advisers to certain private equity funds from the new registration requirements required by Title IV of the Dodd-Frank Act, the Wall Street reform act that is supposed to regulate the practices of Wall Street to prevent another financial crisis. According to the Committee on Financial Services website regarding this act, “Private equity and growth capital funds didn’t cause the financial crisis. They continue to pose no systemic risk to the U.S. economy nor do they raise investor protection issues that require additional regulatory burdens. H.R. 1105 looks to reduce new, complicated and unnecessary registration requirements that unfairly burden the private equity industry — an industry responsible for investing hundreds of billions of dollars in U.S.-based businesses each year.” The bill passed by a vote of 38 to 18.

H.R. 1135, the Burdensome Data Collection Relief Act, was introduced by Congressman Bill Huizenga (R-Michigan). Its purpose is to repeal Section 953(b) of the Dodd-Frank Act. Section 953 relates to “median pay” compensation disclosures and it could require that all public companies determine the compensation of all of their employees and then calculate the median annual compensation. This information, for all of their employees around the world, would then be included in all filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Supporters of the bill assert that the time and human resources that would b required to compile this information for submission to the SEC would be extensive. So far, they have supporters; the bill passed  the House Committee by a vote of 36 to 21.

Congressional bill H.R. 1564, the Audit Integrity and Job Protection Act, was introduced by Rep. Robert Hurt and Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-New York). This bill would amend the current law by allowing public companies to maintain their auditing practices and avoid additional costs. Hurt said, “The Audit Integrity and Job Protection Act would prevent the threat of federal overregulation so that our businesses can continue to focus on creating the jobs that our local communities need rather than cutting through more government red tape.”

Dodd-Frank Act: How to weaken it

Image via The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), which represents state and provincial securities regulators in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

What these bills, passed yesterday by the Financial Services Committee, have in common is that they were brought to the Committee after lots of pressure and lobbying by financial industry groups. They’re a nice way of saying that nearly any regulation and oversight of financial services firms’ activities is too much and, therefore, too burdensome for the put-upon industries to have to tolerate.  Dodd-Frank is about financial reforms enacted after financial services firms tanked the U.S. economy and dragged down the economies of other nations in the process. If anything, the law doesn’t go far enough given that we are still living with “too big to fail” institutions and, therefore, the possibility of another collapse is still within the reach thanks to Wall Street’s recklessness.

We’re going around in circles; the lobbyists pushing for these changes are arguing that financial institutions are unduly restricted.

Really? Does anyone want to gamble — again — with that assertion?